Wendy Freer has been making films since 2003. Some of her earlier films can be seen on her YouTube Channel.
In 2010, Wendy joined forces with Mary Barker and together they started a Film Unit for Ashby de la Zouch Museum. During 2010 they made a set 0f 17 films about everyday life and annual events in Ashby during the year 2010. The films featured Ashby's churches, schools, shops, places of work, sports clubs, dramatic societies, musical societies, the historical society, the twinning organisation and all the main annual events such as the Arts Festival, the Ashby Show, the Statutes Fair, the Remembrance Day parade and the Christmas Street activities. Several of these films can be seen on the YouTube Channel mentioned above.
Mary and Wendy made several other films for Ashby Museum including one about the Standard Soap Company, Ashby the Spa Town, the Diamond Jubilee celebrations in Ashby and a film about the Archaeological excavation at St Helen's Parish Church. These are not available on YouTube as they are longer films but Ashby the Spa Town can be purchased at Ashby Museum on DVD. The film about the Standard Soap Company won the prestigious Heart of the Community award in 2013, beating heritage groups and museums across the whole of the East Midlands to do so.
In 2013, Wendy and Mary left Ashby Museum to set up an independent Community Heritage Group. Their first project was a film called A Town Divided. It featured young actors from Ashby's Rising Stars TV & Film School and was about everyday life and strife in Ashby during the English Civil Wars.
The young people devised the main scenes themselves through improvisation. These were then scripted and link scenes written. The film was shot on location at Donington le Heath Manor House, Ashby Castle and Pudding Bag Cottage.
We were very grateful to Leicestershire Museum Service's Learning Services for allowing us to use the Manor House and to English Heritage for allowing us to use Ashby Castle. We were also very grateful to Ashby Museum for the loan of replica costumes and props and for helping to keep the cast fed and watered during the shoots!
The finished film was shown at The Venture Theatre in November 2013 and received a HIGHLY COMMENDED award at the Leicestershire & Rutland Heritage Awards in 2014.
A Walk Around Money Hill
Working with history and heritage is not just a matter of collecting material from the past. We believe it is important to record the present so that future generations can see how life was for us. With this in mind, we recently made the following 5 minute film to record how Money Hill, Ashby de la Zouch, looked in November 2015. Who knows what it might look like in the future?
In March we produced a short film for the Leicestershire and Rutland Heritage Forum about volunteers in museums. This was shown at the Leicestershire & Rutland Heritage Awards at Snibston Discovery Park on 10th April.
This is a period drama set in the First World War and featuring teenage actors from Ashby Rising Stars Drama School. Read more about the film here.
We are currently working on another set of films for Quick Flicks 2017. Quick Flicks takes place at The Venture Theatre, Ashby de la Zouch on Saturday 27th May at 7.30. Tickets are free from Ashby Tourist Information Centre.
There will be six films, two of which will be:
The Furnaceman, a mystery drama set in Moira Furnace Museum and Country Park.
Ravenstone Hospital Trust, a film about Ann Hely (nee Bradshaw), a woman who was born in Ravenstone and spent her last years in the almshouses there but in between led an eventful life which included nursing in the Crimean War. We have already produced a small book about Ann Hely, and there will soon be a temporary exhibition and a school resource pack. The project is supported by a Shire Grant from Leicstershire County Council.
Just published, the above book about Ann Ayre Hely, the Crimean War Nurse, is available from us for £6 plus £2.50 p&p. Also available at Ashby Tourist Information Centre. Email us on
for further information on how to buy a copy. More information about the Ravenstone project HERE.
Maplewell Hall School. working with the Century of Stories team again to produce a silent film devised and acted by the students.
Ashby Digital Heritage trails. A set of 6 digital trails which can be accessed from our Town Trails page.
Hinckley Museum, Framework Knitting project.
2 documentary films about framework knitting and the hosiery industry in Hinckley for this museum.
The Friends of the Bath Grounds
As part of their Heritage Lottery Fund award, the Friends of the Bath Grounds asked us to make a drama about the Ivanhoe Baths. This has resulted in a 16 minute film entitled Polkas and Pustules. It was shown at the Venture Theatre as as part of Ashby Arts Festival 2016 and can be seen online via our Quick Flicks 2016 page.
In addition to the drama, we have also made a documentary for the Friends of the Bath Grounds recording their entire HLF project. This can be seen on their website.
A Century of Stories
We were delighted to be able to collaborate with Jen Johnson of Kashmir Arts on a project commissioned by the Leicestershire County Council Century of Stories project team to work with Moira Primary School. Year 4 children researched and wrote about life for people working on the canal in the First World War and we helped them turn their work into a short film which can be seen here. Some photographs can be seen on Facebook HERE.
Quick Flicks 2016
Following the success of Quick Flicks in 2015, which was part of the Ashby Arts Festival, we made another set of films, including Polkas and Pustules mentioned above, and a film drama set in the Wigston Framework Knitters' Museum. The first public showing was so popular that we put on a second showing on 3rd June. The films are now available via the internet HERE.
A set of 15 minute films made to show at the Ashby Arts Festival 2015. Read more about them and see the films here.